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Entertainment Today: Showbiz News

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International   |   Jan. 13, 2003 at 3:00 AM   |   Comments

MAURICE GIBB DEAD AT 53

Maurice Gibb, bass and keyboard player for the popular disco band the Bee Gees, died Sunday in a Florida hospital.

His family said in a statement Gibb, 53, suffered cardiac arrest before undergoing emergency surgery for a blocked intestine.

"To our extended family friends and fans, with great sadness and sorrow we regretfully announce the passing of Maurice Gibb this morning... His love, enthusiasm and energy for life remain an inspiration to all of us. We will all deeply miss him," the statement said.

Best-known for its legendary soundtrack to the 1977 John Travolta film "Saturday Night Fever," the band has enjoyed a career spanning four decades with hits such as "More Than A Woman," "Stayin' Alive" and "How Deep Is Your Love" on their resumes.

Members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Grammy Award-winning band was comprised of Maurice, his twin, Robin, and their older brother, Barry. Their younger brother, teen-idol Andy, died in 1988 of a heart ailment. The group released their last album, "This Is Where I Came In," in 2001.

Gibb is survived by his wife, Yvonne, and two children. He previously was married to '60's pop icon and singer, Lulu.


JERRY HALL DEFENDS PETE TOWNSHEND

Jerry Hall is defending Pete Townshend against allegations he paid to view child pornography on the Internet for unlawful purposes.

The actress/model has released a statement explaining how Townshend advised her how to protect her children from mistakenly visiting inappropriate Web sites. Hall added she did not believe the 57-year-old Who guitarist fit the profile of a pedophile.

Although Townshend publicly has admitted he used his credit card to peruse child pornography on the Net, he says he did so "purely to see what was there."

Townshend claims he was a victim of sexual abuse when he was a child and has loudly condemned anyone involved in producing or enjoying child pornography. The rocker insists he visited the pay kiddie porn site only to help him address the issue of sexual abuse in his upcoming autobiography.

Said Hall in a statement: "Since 1992 I have campaigned for both public and private child welfare foundations both in raising public awareness and funds. Pete Townshend is an avid supporter of these causes. In addition he advised me on how to prevent my children from inadvertently gaining access to such sites."

She added: "Over the course of our friendship we have also discussed his belief that he too was abused as a child. He also spoke about his pending autobiography and the difficulty he had in coming to terms with this aspect of his childhood."

Hall and Townshend spoke out after London's Daily Mail newspaper reported police were investigating an unidentified British rock star for downloading child pornography. Townshend argues he did nothing wrong by accessing the images and claims he even reported what he saw on the Net to police.


'JUST MARRIED' OVERTHROWS 'LORD'

It was wedding rings, not magic rings that towered over the box office this weekend.

Studio estimates released Sunday show "Just Married," the romantic comedy about a honeymoon gone horribly awry, bumped "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" out of the top spot and into second place. The comedy's debut ended the three-weekend reign of the second installment of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. "Just Married" earned $18 million its first weekend in release, while "Rings" earned another $15 million, bringing its total take to date to $283.6 million.

Coming in third place with $14.8 million is the Leonardo DiCaprio caper, "Catch Me If You Can." Rounding out the top five are the Hugh Grant-Sandra Bullock charmer, "Two Weeks Notice," and Jack Nicholson's black comedy, "About Schmidt." Those films made $6.7 million and $6.3 million respectively.


WEDDING BELLS FOR COLLETTE, CONNELLY

Australian actress Toni Collette and Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly have married their respective beaus.

According to Australian media reports, the 30-year-old star of "About A Boy" and "The Sixth Sense" tied the knot with 25-year-old musician Dave Galafassi in a Buddhist ceremony near Sydney. About 100 guests, including Collette's "Muriel's Wedding" co-star Rachel Griffiths, attended the celebration, which featured a vegetarian banquet and spectacular fireworks display.

Connelly's wedding to her "A Beautiful Mind" co-star, Paul Bettany, was a little more low-key. The happy couple reportedly exchanged vows in a private ceremony in Scotland over the holidays with only family and a few friends in attendance.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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